Rabbie’s brings ethical small group travel to new parts of the UK

Scottish tour operator Rabbie’s has introduced three new day-tours leaving from Aberdeen.

The small group specialist, which is passionate about sustainability and CSR (corporate social responsibility), has launched Dunottar Castle & Royal Deeside; Loch Ness & The Highlands, and a Speyside Whisky Trail to its programme of Scottish tours for 2019-2020.

Rabbie’s has also revealed two new three-day trips from Manchester to popular holiday spots in Wales and The Peak District and doubled its choice of departures from London.

Cotswolds Bibury Bus_Resized

“After the success of launching a departure point in Inverness, we felt ready to bring our ethical small-group tours to new parts of the UK,” says Rabbie’s founder and chief executive Robin Worsnop.

“It’s the right time too – all reports are saying Manchester’s tourism sector is growing, and travellers are starting to discover the fantastic locations that lie on Aberdeen’s doorstep.”

Heather Reekie, director of marketing & sales, said: “When I first found out we were going to connect with the railway lines with our new package tours, I was surprised other companies weren’t already doing this. Travelling by rail is far quicker and more sustainable than using a car to travel long distances.

“We’re hoping a lot of locals in London will see these packages as a stress-free and affordable alternative to taking a flight, booking accommodation, and working out where to go in a rental car.“

Rabbie’s new programme also includes a three-day tour of Lewis and Harris from Inverness, a three-day tour of Mull from Glasgow, and a discovery of the Isle of Wight’s ancient landscape from London with a three-day tour which starts from £149 per person.

To complete the programme Rabbie’s has added a selection of short tours departing from Inverness, Glasgow, Dublin and Edinburgh.

Sustainability and CSR have, since the beginning, been integrated into the core of Rabbie’s business strategy, products and services, with strong impact on rural and remote communities.

By operating small groups, Rabbie’s has access to the back roads and provide affordable travel to make these remote communities accessible to visitors.

The company also supports local community and environmental projects which preserve the communities and wildlife by self-taxing £10 for every tonne of CO2 used. The money is then donated to support community and environmental projects.

Pictured is Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness.


Pukka Herbs vows to become carbon neutral by 2030 and minimise climate change

After pledging to become carbon neutral by 2030, Pukka Herbs has become one of a small number of companies to have its climate goal validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The organic herbal tea and supplement specialist joins brands such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, and Coca Cola European Partners by becoming the 13th UK company to have its carbon reduction target officially recognised by the SBTi.

With a turnover of nearly £36 million, Pukka Herbs was founded in 2001 by Tim Westwell and herbalist Sebastian Pole. Sebastian’s vision was to create a business that lives in a regenerative way and it has since become one of the fastest growing organic businesses in the world, working with over 5,000 organic growers worldwide and selling its 100% certified organic herbal teas, supplements and lattes in over 40 countries.

Pukka-Latte-Cacao-Hero-ENGWhile many companies are setting their own carbon reduction targets, only 13 in the UK including Pukka have set independent, rigorously verified targets through the SBTi and while the smallest, it joins UK-based, global organisations such as BT, Capgemini and Diageo PLC in the plight to radically reduce climate change before it’s too late.


Pukka, which was the first company to develop recyclable tea envelopes and has been an early adopter of renewable energy, says it will achieve its science-based targets via actions ranging from engaging with suppliers to tackling the emissions caused from boiling kettles – which have the greatest impact (49%) in Pukka’s value chain.

Its ‘Smart Boiling’ campaign will encourage people to adopt some simple practices to make a ‘Pukka cuppa’. Boiling only the amount of water you need and switching to renewable energy are just two of the ways it is highlighting to help boil smarter, saving consumers nearly £1 million a day in electricity by only boiling what’s needed.

pukka spring 18 wellbeing kit seasonal wellness
Pukka Spring Wellbeing Kit

Pukka also runs its buildings on renewable electricity while, in future, all its company vehicles will be electric.

With the help of Carbon Credentials, Pukka has mapped out its carbon footprint, breaking down total carbon output from ‘crop to cup’. A complex tea production supply chain, with over 90% of carbon emissions outside its direct control makes this an even more ambitious target. 25% of its carbon footprint is in the growing of its herbs and making its packaging. To address this 25% Pukka has:

  • Inspired other companies in its supply chain to switch to renewable energy. For example, Infusion, Pukka’s blending and packing partner, has now switched to renewable energy.
  • Started using organic farming methods which reduce emissions and store more carbon in soils.
  • Started working with its most important herb growers to encourage low carbon farming techniques. Ploughing, for example, releases carbon from the soil into the air, so ploughing less, or not at all makes carbon sense. While agroforestry, has many benefits: better composting and agroforestry help to reduce carbon emissions, and help lock more water into the soil which is important in times of future drought. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, roots firm up soil helping to prevent soil erosion, and tree nuts, fruits and bark can often provide a secondary source of income for farmers.
  • Introduced pilot carbon reduction projects in collaboration with suppliers and the communities growing its specific herbs. This includes Pukka investing £45,000 in pilot projects tasked with reducing carbon impact throughout 2019, while it’s now generating more accurate data relating to its specific carbon impact in-situ (as well as monitoring carbon reduction over time), via a field-based app.

2922_Carbon Footprint Infographic pdf



Fermented dairy products may protect against heart attack

Men who eat plenty of fermented dairy products have a smaller risk of incident coronary heart disease than men who eat less of these products, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

A very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products, on the other hand, was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. The findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Earlier studies have shown that fermented dairy products have more positive effects on blood lipid profiles and on the risk of heart disease than other dairy products. Examples of fermented dairy products include cheese, yoghurt, quark, kefir and sour milk. However, research into the topic remains scarce.


The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland explored the associations of fermented and non-fermented dairy products with the risk of incident coronary heart disease.

The dietary habits of around 2,000 men were assessed at the beginning of the study in 1984–1989, and they were followed up for an average of 20 years. During this follow-up, 472 men experienced an incident coronary heart disease event.

The study participants were divided into groups on the basis of how much they ate different dairy products, and the researchers compared the groups with the highest and lowest consumption, while also taking various lifestyle and nutrition factors into consideration.


When the study participants were divided into four groups on the basis of their consumption of fermented dairy products with less than 3.5% fat, the risk of incident coronary heart disease was 26% lower in the highest consumption group compared to the lowest consumption group.

Sour milk was the most commonly used low-fat fermented dairy product. The consumption of high-fat fermented dairy products, such as cheese, was not associated with the risk of incident coronary heart disease.

But the researchers found that a very high consumption on non-fermented dairy products was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. Milk was the most commonly used product in this category, and a very high consumption was defined as an average daily milk intake of 0.9 litres. Lower consumption levels were not associated with the risk.


“Here in Finland, people’s habits of consuming different dairy products have changed over the past decades,” says Adjunct Professor Jyrki Virtanenfrom the University of Eastern Finland.

“For instance, the consumption of milk and sour milk have declined, while many fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, quark and cheeses, have gained in popularity.”

The new study provides further evidence on the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have over non-fermented ones. All the mechanisms are not understood yet, but they may be linked to compounds forming during the fermentation process.


App launches to help Brits go vegan

The Vegan Society has launched the UK’s first app to help people go vegan.

It has released its free VeGuide app for Android and iOS devices after research showed half of Brits would consider becoming vegan with the right support.

The launch also helps to mark The Vegan Society’s 74th anniversary this World Vegan Month (November).

The app offers an introduction to a vegan lifestyle via a combination of interactive content, which includes shopping, nutrition and recipe information.

It helps users deal with issues such as giving up cheese or struggling to find vegan products by covering the basics of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle over 30 days.

With 95% of people aged 16-34 owning a smartphone in 2018 in the UK, it’s hoped the app will appeal to the younger, more tech-savvy audience.

Danielle Saunders, Digital Content Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “We are so excited to launch an app we developed specifically with the vegan-curious in mind.

“VeGuide has been designed to provide a platform that’s more suited to the younger audience, which our research showed are the most likely age group to have an interest in veganism.

“We feel the development of VeGuide marks a new phase for The Vegan Society and a new way of embracing veganism for the general public.”

The Society’s research found that awareness of what veganism stands for is spreading among the British public, with 22% of respondents knowing more about it now than they ever did growing up.

The charity has worked with celebrities, dietitians and vegan experts to bring together all the advice VeGuide users are able to benefit from.

The video content is presented by prominent vegan YouTubers RaeLikesFroot and Jay Brave who act as personal guides, exploring the most common stumbling blocks to going vegan.

Budding vegans will be encouraged to stay on track with facts and motivational quotes, specifically tailored to the reasons why they said wanted to take the plunge.

The app, which has UK and US versions, also includes quizzes and a rewards programme for products registered with the Vegan Trademark.

Most vegan pledges are email-based such as those people take as a New Year’s resolution, making VeGuide is the first app of its kind.

A Vegan Society survey this year found the number of vegans in Great Britain had quadrupled in the past four years from 150,000 to 600,000.

World Vegan Day and Month commemorate the founding of The Vegan Society and celebrate how far the vegan movement has come.

VeGuide is now available to download for free on Google Play and the App Store.


Fake medicine warning after bogus drugs haul

The UK has seized more than £2 million of fake medicines and dermal fillers as part of an international crackdown

People in the UK are being warned to be very careful when buying medicines online and to avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication.

The caution comes from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after more than 1 million doses of counterfeit medicine were seized as part of a fake drugs and medical devices haul worth over £2 million.

The contraband was seized as part of Interpol’s global Operation Pangea initiative involving 116  countries following a crackdown by the MHRA.

unnamed (65)

Between 9 & 17 October, the MHRA and partners found falsified and unlicensed medicines and medical devices in the UK which included diazepam, modafinil and dermal fillers.

Using intelligence, MHRA enforcement officers raided a semi-detached property and a small lock-up unit in connection with the illegal supply online of potentially harmful medicines. This led to one arrest.

Raids on the properties in the north of England involved local police and forms part of an international response coordinated through Interpol to the growing illegal trading in online medicines and medical devices. Worldwide, Operation Pangea led to 859 arrests and yielded items worth in the region of £10.9 million.

As well as the property raids, the team also targeted airports and mail delivery centres. During the searches, officers found numerous packages containing illegal consignments of medicines and medical devices including many hidden within other innocent items such as  video games and clothing.

The team also targeted websites on the open and dark web that offer falsified and unlicensed medical products. Our action has led to 123 websites being shut down and the removal of 535 online adverts.

MHRA Head of Enforcement Alastair Jeffrey, said: “Criminals who sell medicines over the internet have absolutely no regard for your health and taking medicine which is either falsified or unlicensed puts you at risk of serious harm.

“Our intelligence-led enforcement operations have seized millions of counterfeit and unlicensed medicines and devices in the UK. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and we will continue to take action against known criminals – working with our international partners to stop illegal medicines from entering the UK.

“To protect your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and buy medicines from a legitimate high street or registered pharmacy which can trade online with a distance selling logo.”

The MHRA has issued the following safety advice when buying medicines:

Be careful when buying medicines online
Be careful buying medicines online – criminals are known to exploit vulnerable people by supplying medicines through unregulated websites and stealing their credit card details.

Do not self-prescribe
Self-diagnosis and self-medication can be very dangerous. If you have a concern about your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and if medicines are prescribed, buy them from a legitimate source.

Report it!
If you have any knowledge of criminal activity relating to the medicines offences, you should report this by emailing

To report a website, click here 

You can also provide information anonymously through 0800 555111 or Crimestoppers

Separately, the MHRA recently worked with law enforcement agencies in India to prevent unlicensed medicines entering the UK.